If we had the power to declare Franschhoek the culinary capital of South Africa, we would! The valley’s ever-expanding foodscape has just welcomed another. Introducing Epice – the latest venture from the team behind La Colombe, La Petite Colombe and Protégé.
Named after the French word Epicé (meaning spice), the intimate eatery is situated in Heritage Square, a quaint courtyard of shops, galleries and restaurants opposite Leeu House, in the space formerly occupied by Marigold, and is the brainchild of La Colombe’s chef-proprietor Scot Kirton and executive chef James Gaag.
Serving an array of delectably curated dishes, the fine-dining restaurant is headed by chef Charné Sampson (previously sous chef at La Colombe), and features a flavour-packed menu inspired by the team’s culinary expedition to India, as well as memories of travels through Spain, Japan, Mexico, Denmark and the US.
Chef Charné’s menu features home-cooking-style dishes with a refined edge. Says Scot: “Charné has always had a love for spices and Epice is the perfect place for her to weave her magic.”
For the love of flavour
Charné’s cooking is all about a balance of tastes, flavours and textures, where fresh and sustainable ingredients have been carefully combined to create an array of exceptional dishes that you’ll want to return for.
“We are trying to create an experience – something special – that guests will remember for years to come… with the aim of creating memories that last a lifetime,” says Scot.
Diners who are afraid of food that packs a punch need not fear, as the spiced-up offering is less about the forehead sweats and more about flavour-filled cuisine designed to take guests on a fragrant culinary journey.
“The menu will revolve around spices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean spicy-hot – think vanilla and saffron or cinnamon and nutmeg,” explains Scot.
Wild boar chorizo, spiced quail cooked in a tandoor, and oysters vindaloo are just some of the other exciting creations diners can expect. There’s also an ice-cream trolley for the palate cleanser course, from which diners can select their own sorbet.
The cosy 45-seater, designed by interior design duo Megan Bond and Rotem Schachar, has a warm ambience, with tones of amber and brown echoing the spice theme throughout.
As with all Scot’s properties, service is a huge part of the offering, with Marion Willemse – who many foodies might remember from her five years at La Colombe – heading up the front of house.
Vive la Franschhoek! Vive l’Epicé!
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